Cedar Valley businesses encouraged to "Dream Big, Grow Here" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Valley small businesses encouraged to "Dream Big, Grow Here"

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WATERLOO (KWWL)-- The Great Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hoping to spur economic growth through small business development.  That's why it's promoting the "Dream Big, Grow Here" contest.  Entrepreneurs in Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy, and Tama Counties can compete for a $5000 grant to grow their business.  And the chamber hopes that money is just extra incentive to help companies expand in the Cedar Valley.

The storefronts in downtown Cedar Falls are full.  Some new businesses are popping up in downtown Waterloo.  And the Great Cedar Valley Alliance and Chamber wants to keep it that way.  So it's offering the chance for small businesses to compete for a $5000 grant to grow and expand operations as part of the "Dream Big, Grow Here" contest.

"If someone has started a business and they're already starting to feel that they can really make something of this, they've got a couple of employees, and they just need a little bit more money to take the next big step in their business growth, those are the ones we want to attract with this contest," said Steve Dust, chief executive officer of the Great Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber.

And there's a good reason the chamber's chosen small business to compete for the grant.  It's one place in the economy where there's a lot of potential for job growth.

"Those existing small businesses that have a growth desire, have a growth pattern, a dream, are the ones where significant growth in wages and community wealth will grow," Dust said.

To qualify, a small business needs between two and 99 employees and must be based in the Cedar Valley.  Businesses are asked to create and submit a video or email detailing ideas for how they could grow locally.  And there are some qualities that might help an entry stand out.  

"The ideal business is somebody who makes something, makes a product.  We want to encourage that in the Cedar Valley by all means. We want to attract those who are delivering modern services to businesses and to consumers," Dust said.

And the chamber hopes even those businesses that don't win the five-grand grant will still work to make their ideas for growth happen, thereby helping the Cedar Valley to thrive following the national economic downturn.

Businesses wanting to compete for the "Dream Big, Grow Here" grant need to submit applications by April 13.  From April 15-30, entrants will have a chance to vote for their favorite ideas, with the winner being announced May 10.  To learn more about applying, click here.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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